Renting a car and driving cross country is a great way to see places, especially if there’s more than one of you. If you maximize the car capacity, chances are the costs are the same or even less than taking the public transport. We embarked on a week-long drive from London to Wales, taking our time to make stops whenever we wanted and exploring smaller towns and countryside. Here are some of our main stops and what to look forward to in these places.
The first stop was Oxford. Why Oxford? Because Lewis Carrol was inspired to write Alice’s mystical quirky Wonderland here. Because Harry Potter was filmed at the college library. Because I just wanted to know how it feels to be super smart. We stayed at a bed and breakfast, small but with a lot of character, and travelled on foot around the main part of the university town. It seemed like it was a town within a university, instead of the other way around. People moved around with bicycles, and at night the students hang out at the small delis and cafes along the street. There were small little shops selling all sorts of thing – antiques, graduation robes and Italian delicacies.
The old centre was like something pulled out of a medieval history handbook. You can spend hours just wandering around this part of the university, visiting its old library, churches that are turned into lecture halls, and small cafes overlooking the college compound. The library is worth a visit, not just to see where Harry Potter was filmed, but also to marvel at the thousands of old books chained to the wall, and listen to the history of the library itself. After that, you may reward yourself a coffee or a small parfait in one of the cafes. One that I would recommend is the café right next to the library within a church chamber. There are even seats next to a grave of some famous Whatshisname.
If you’re into outdoorsy things, a popular activity here is punting. It basically means boating along the small river across Oxford. You can also visit the beautiful parks around campus, armed with a sandwich or a bag as pillow for naps under the tree.
Where to Eat: University means globalisation. Globalisation means you can get almost all types of food from around the world along a single main street. Food is not at all a problem around here, and best of all they are mostly catered to a student’s budget. Follow the crowd to see the where the best hangout spots are at night, and the main town is generally safe to walk around at all times.